Deaf Hef Blamed Viagra

“He said he would rather have sex than have his hearing.”

Could Viagra cause hearing loss?

The late Hugh Hefner thought so according to three of the women in his life.   His widow Chrystal Harris told Howard Stern back in 2011 that, “He tries not to take Viagra any more because it makes him lose his hearing.”

Chrystal Harris, Hugh Hefner, Karissa & Kristina Shannon

In another interview that same year Hefner’s former twin lovers Karissa and Kristina Shannon made a similar claim.

Karissa told The Sun “He said he would rather have sex than have his hearing. He has hearing aids now and even then he can only hear out of one ear.”

“You have to lean down and talk into his good ear for him to understand you.  We could sit right next to him and he wouldn’t have a clue what we said.”

Was Viagra to Blame?

There is some tenuous evidence that the class of drugs known as PDE-5 inhibitors such as Viagra, Cialis and Levitra  may induce sensorineural hearing loss.  A 2007 study found that a few men reported suffering from sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) after taking PDE-5 inhibitors.

It’s important to note that there has been no proven causal link, and that SSHL is extremely rare.  But it was enough for the FDA to require that a warning be included on the labels of PDE-5 inhibitors.

As for Hefner’s hearing loss, well, he was in his nineties after all.

The Drugs You Should Worry About

There are roughly 200 drugs that have been shown to cause hearing loss, including some that may already be in your medicine cabinet.

They are known as ototoxics, oto meaning ear and toxic, of course, means poison. They can result in temporary or permanent damage. If you are already suffering from hearing loss you should be aware that these drugs may cause you to lose more.

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The Carney Curse

I was diagnosed with presbycusis (the premature loss of hair cells) at 50, and I was told the primary cause was genetic. Indeed, a look at my family tree confirms the diagnosis.

My grandfather on my mother’s side, Bernard Carney, began to notice he was losing his hearing in his 50’s. My mother too began losing hers at the same age. The rate and pattern of my hearing loss is the same as hers, and I am certain it’s the same as her father, my Grandad.

My Grandfather and his hearing aid
My Grandfather Bernard Carney

In the early 1960’s he got a hearing aid. You can see it the picture. It was a fairly crude device by today’s standards. In his shirt pocket he is wearing a microphone/amplifier about the size of a cigarette pack. You can see the white cord that runs to the small speaker in his ear. He was a thrifty man and he would sew pockets into his shirts himself.

He used to blame his deafness on his time in Malta during WWI when he would dive off the cliffs during his days off. But my mother has never been to Malta let alone done any cliff diving. Neither have I.  Nor has one of my cousins who came up with the term, “The Carney Curse”.